News brings into play possibility that suspension was designed to drive out left members
Labour sources have confirmed to the SKWAWKBOX that the party hierarchy is moving to nullify votes cast in the ongoing National Executive Committee (NEC) elections by members who have quit in droves over the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn for comments he has a legally-protected right to make.
The party is treating the ballots of any members who are not ‘fully paid up’ at the counting of votes will be discounted – to the outrage of NEC and union figures, who are fighting the plan.
The party’s rules for NEC contests specify that members must have joined by a cut-off date, but do not stipulate that members must still be in the party by the count as long as they were members at the time the votes were cast.
The news brings into play the possibility that the timing of Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension was, at least in part, designed to winnow out left members and influence the elections to Labour’s vital NEC. It also sheds a new light on the SKWAWKBOX’s exclusive revelation that general secretary David Evans’s urgent appeal for help from other departments and regional offices to process the flood of resignations that followed Corbyn’s suspension.
The ‘paid up’ ploy will also disenfranchise members who are not resigning, but simply miss a payment because of hardship during the coronavirus crisis. Labour sources believe that between those who have resigned and those whose direct debits are not paid, the number of members affected – and votes struck out – will be in the tens of thousands.
One senior figure told the SKWAWKBOX:
It’s bad enough that we’re taking away votes that people were clearly entitled to under the rules. But we’re supposed to be the party of working people and with unemployment and hardship rocketing we’re going to cancel the votes of people unable to afford their subs. It’s absolutely disgusting.
The tens of thousands of votes likely to be affected represent a huge proportion of those that will decide the NEC elections. In the spring’s NEC by-elections, the top candidate received just over 57,000 votes – and was just a few hundred ahead of the best left-winger in spite of a divided left slate.
Senior party and union figures are fighting the anti-democratic manoeuvre. The Labour Party has been contacted for comment.
Update: Evans has emailed some claiming the party is not doing this. However, party sources remain convinced it is happening and Labour has not yet responded to a formal request to confirm or deny.
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